Sep 28, 2022

Lawsuits Over Zantac Cancers Not Supported in Federal MDL Being Filed in State Courts

Posted by : Irvin Jackson

Zantac cancers supported in the federal courts are limited to bladder, esophageal, gastric, liver and pancreatic. Thousands of other lawsuits are being filed in state courts involving breast, kidney, colorectal, prostate, and other cancers.

September 28, 2022
By: Irvin Jackson

While a federal judge is considering the strength of expert witness testimony this week about the link between Zantac and five specific cancers; including bladder cancer, esophageal cancer, gastric cancer, liver cancer and pancreatic cancer; thousands of lawsuits are being pursued in various state courts nationwide by individuals diagnosed with other types of cancer that are not being pursued in the federal multidistrict litigation (MDL).

Zantac (ranitidine) was used by millions of Americans for treatment of heartburn and acid reflux, before it was removed from the market in late 2019, following a discovery that the active pharmaceutical ingredient is inherently unstable, and produces high levels of the chemical byproduct N-Nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), which is a potent human carcinogen.

GlaxoSmithKline, Boehringer Ingelheim, Pfizer, Sanofi and various other manufacturers, distributors and retailers involved in the sale of brand name Zantac or generic ranitidine pills now face more than 100,000 product liability claims brought by former users who allege Zantac caused cancer as NDMA moved through the body, following years of exposure.

Learn More About Zantac lawsuits

Side effects of Zantac may increase the risk of cancer, due to chemical impurities found in the heartburn drug.
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Given common questions of fact and law raised in Zantac lawsuits filed throughout the federal court system, centralized pretrial proceedings have been established in a federal MDL before U.S. District Judge Robin L. Rosenberg in the Southern District of Florida, who is considering evidence this week during a series of “Daubert” hearings this week designed to test the strength of expert witness testimony that supports the link between NDMA in Zantac and certain cancers.

Zantac Daubert Hearings Involve Support for Bladder, Esophageal, Liver, Pancreatic and Stomach Cancer

Named for a U.S. Supreme Court decision that established the standards for admissibility of expert witness testimony in the federal court system, Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc., the hearings are intended to allow the Judge to act as a “gatekeeper” to weigh whether the proposed expert opinions are sufficiently sound and reliable to allow a jury to consider the case.

Given the available studies linking NDMA in Zantac to specific cancers, lawyers involved in the federal MDL are moving forward with support for only five specific cancers in the Zantac MDL, including bladder cancer, esophagel cancer, gastric cancer, liver cancer and pancreatic cancer.

However, former users of have widely reported various other types of cancer caused by Zantac, including breast cancer, kidney cancer, colorectal cancer, prostate cancer and lung cancer.

Since supporting expert testimony regarding these other cancers is not being presented in the federal court system, individuals are avoiding filing their claim in the MDL, and instead opting to file lawsuits in various different state court venues, which have different standards for the level of scientific studies and findings needed to support a claim.

Multiple media reports confirm that tens of thousands of claims were filed in Delaware state courts in recent weeks, where several of the drug makers are based and unable to remove the claims to the federal court system. In addition, a number of complaints have been filed in California, Illinois and Pennsylvania.

October 2022 Zantac Lawsuit Update

In the federal court system, the outcome of the Zantac MDL Daubert hearings are being closely watched, to evaluate whether plaintiffs will be permitted to introduce the proposed expert witness testimony involving the five supported cancers.

Based on the strength of the available studies linking Zantac to bladder cancer, esophageal cancer, gastric cancer, liver cancer and pancreatic cancer, it is widely anticipated that the cases will be cleared to move forward. However, if the drug makers are successful convincing the judge to exclude expert testimony linking Zantac to specific cancers, it may leave plaintiffs unable to establish their claims in the federal court system.

In California state court, a series of four Zantac lawsuits have been scheduled for trial next year, with cases scheduled to go before different juries on February 13, 2023, May 1, 2023, August 7, 2023 and October 23, 2023.

These trials will be closely watched by parties involved in the litigation, and may provide a “bellwether” to help gauge how juries will respond to certain evidence and testimony that will be repeated throughout the litigation. If plaintiffs are successful, it is likely to drive up the cost of any Zantac settlements the drug makers will offer to avoid tens of thousands of individual cases going to trial nationwide in the coming years.

Tags: Cancer, Drug Recall, GlaxoSmithKline, Heartburn, Heartburn Drug, NDMA, Sanofi, Zantac

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Irvin Jackson